The recruitment of Otmar Schork in early November can only have been the start of a development of change and, more importantly, improvement at FC Magdeburg. Who is this Otmar Schork?
The name Otmar is an old germanic male name. It consists of two syllables ‘aud’ meaning wealth/prosperity and ‘mar’ translates as fame.
Change and Improvement
It was in early November, a day many may once remember as the day, the turn around may have just started. It was the day when Magdeburg announced the recruitment of Otmar Schork as new sporting director. Henceforth Mario Kallnik will no longer be responsible for assembling the squad; something that has been grating with fans for some time and which has led to repeated calls for Kallnik to retire from ALL his responsibilities at Magdeburg. That may be one step too far but it was on the sporting field, in the recruitment of players where he appeared to be out of his depth. Of course, the end of last season still reverberates into this season, especially as the squad was traumatised by Corona but also ow the season played out. There were three coaches in charge of the squad; the sporting director, Maik Franz was sacked in June and the team hovered just above the relegation zone and only saved themselves almost at the end.
Something had to happen. That it took so long is out of order and must be subject of an investigation. However, November it is and the club have a new sporting director. Finally, the board of directors decided to hire Otmar Schork, formerly employed in the same position at Sandhausen. This small club have gone from being totally unknown to an established club in Bundesliga 2 since 2011. A large part of this is down to the work of Schork.
Embedded in the Region
Sandhausen is a small town in Baden-Württemberg, south of Heidelberg. There are about 15000 inhabitants (2007). Ironically, the ground holds 15000. Schork has worked at Sandhausen twice: initially between 1994 and 2002 and again from autumn 2010 until March 2019. During that second spell the club had seven different coaches, indicating that Schork is not content with mediocrity. Sandhausen have escaped relegation from Bundesliga 2 in 2013 after Duisburg were denied a license for financial reasons. It was their great escape and since they have only once looked close to be relegated: in spring 2019 they were last in the table, even behind Magdeburg who were battling alongside them to stay up. In March 2019 Schork resigned, Sandhausen saved themselves and Magdeburg were relegated. Now, a year and half later he feels refreshed enough to take on a new job, in a region where he has never worked before.
He is very much embedded in the Heidelberg region and played and worked there throughout his career. This does not disqualify him from working in Magdeburg; quite the opposite. It is the point of view of the outsider that may release the potential of this squad and that of the coaching team. His opposite number, Mario Kallnik, responsible for all things financial, has had a similar career: he grew up in south Brandenburg and mainly played for BFC Dynamo and FC Magdeburg before becoming involved in the managerial side of the club from 2012. Schork’s career is almost a copy of that, only that his career mainly played out in southern Hesse and Baden-Wurttemberg.
The situation at Magdeburg was unbearable at the start of the season and new personnel was overdue. A sporting director is good but may not be enough in the run of the season. Schork has a proven track record: at the end of the day he has kept Sandhausen in division 2 and has proven to be ruthless when success was not achieved. It is only a question of time before Thomas Hoßmang, currently head coach will feel the pressure of delivering. For now, the Club have been undefeated for two matches in a row – something that has not happened in a while.
Wealth and Fame – the two syllables of Otmar. In other words, his name means wellbeing and being successful. Magdeburg supporters have become humble since 2018 and would take that any day. Moreover, they would be happy, if Magdeburg just stayed in the league and have nowt to do with relegation; rather the look and the trajectory should go upwards.